Action 1: Sharing Knowledge

Action 2: Space for Urban Reappropriation

Action 3: Mifflin Square Alliance Festival

Playgrounds for Useful Knowledge Neighborhood Convening

Project as

Project as

CohStra (Lucia Babina, Emiliano Gandolfi, Gabriela Rendón and Miguel Robles-Durán)

Commissioned by

In collaboration with

-Shari Hersh, project manager Mural Arts Philadelphia Program’s Restored Spaces Initiative
-Lucía Sanromán, curator
-Jane Golden, executive director of Mural Arts Philadelphia
-Beth Uzwiak as CohStra
-Margaret Kearney, Restored Spaces
-Julius Ferraro, Restored Spaces
-Juan Pablo Pemberty-Jiménez as CohStra
-Lee Wolf as CohStra

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage

Production Contributions
-Larissa Begault, architect
-Mariana Bomtempo , architect
-Julia Borowicz, urbanist
-Heidi Chisholm, graphic designer
-Rachael Griffith, landscape architect
-Troy Andrew Hallisey, urban ecologies specialist
-Philadelphia Theatre of the Oppressed (T.O. Philly)
-Scott Quitel, founder of LandHealth Institute
-Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, comprehensive community revitalization expert
-The LandHealth Institute

-7th Street Civic Association
-Amuneal Manufacturing
-Ballin Up Scholastics and Sports
-Bethanna Community Umbrella Agency
-Bhutanese Community Organization
-Café Canela
-Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia
-Cambodian Psychedelic Band
Da Chen and Eric Chen
-Laura Deutch
-East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association
-Fleisher Art Memorial
-Free Library of Philadelphia
-Friendly Market
-Friends of Mifflin Square
-Alex Gilliam – Public Workshop
-Lisa and David Grainge with Snyder Avenue Congregational Church
-Independent Rock Music School
-Liz Hersh and the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania
-Karen Traditional Dance Group
-Lower Moyamensing Civic Association
-Mighty Writers
-PA Migrant Education
-Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations
-Philadelphia City Planning Commission
-Philadelphia Refugee Mental Health Collaborative
-Pete Pin Puentes de Salud
-Carlos Pascual Sánchez
-Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Associations Coalition
-Southeast by Southeast
-Southeast Philadelphia Collaborative
-United Communities Southeast Philadelphia
-TEND landscape inc
-The City of Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation
-The City of Philadelphia Streets Department
-The Food Trust
-The Guild
-United Communities Southeast Philadelphia
-The Trust for Public Land
-Trash Academy
-University of Pennsylvania
-Rich Wexler

Neighborhood Hub Improvement
-Soumya Dhulekar
-Julius Ferraro
-Shari Hersh
-Margaret Kearney
-Scott Quitel and Rachael Griffith, LandHealth Institute
With the collaboration of the Mural Arts’ Youth Violence Reduction Partnership Program:
-Jacqueline Beamer
-Calvin Brinkley
-John Jackson
-Zymir Payne
-Kareem Williams
-Richard Williams

Participatory Neighborhood Survey
-Teresa Engst and Wei Chen, Asian Americans United
-High School Students, AAU Summer Program 2015

Structure Design for Mifflin Park Alliance Festival
-Alex Gilliam, Public Workshop

Lanterns for Mifflin Park Alliance Festival
Luca Bokulich

Photos by
Steve Weinik


Playgrounds for Useful Knowledge is a community-based experimental urban platform that uses play, games and performance to reveal, share and celebrate local knowledge produced in South Philadelphia, an area known for its rich cultural and ethnic diversity. Playgrounds seeks the restructuring of urban spaces by promoting new social relations across cultural and economic divides, with the objective of generating just and sustainable forms of collective inhabiting to confront the pressures of accelerated urban development.
PfUK occupied an empty lot at 632 Jackson Street, creating a temporary hub space, that together with other temporary occupations in South Philadelphia, interrupted the demands of daily life through play, inspiring and producing new socio-spatial imaginaries and political subjectivities.
Here Cohabitation Strategies collaborated with a variety of neighborhood partners in a participatory pilot project that activates playful ways of critically thinking land occupation, gentrification, environmental restoration and housing through participatory design, while inspiring cross-cultural communication by generating knowledge exchange through performance, construction and dialogue.
PfUK was developed mainly in three phases:
Action 1: Sharing Knowledge
Action 2: Space for Urban Reappropriation
Action 3: Mifflin Square Alliance Festival

The PfUK process is documented in a publication: An Action-Research Project on South Philadelphia